New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has disfavoured policing or regulation of the Internet but underlined the need for drawing a line between right to privacy and right to anonymity as this medium can be source of trouble sometimes.

He also said that there should be an agreed global rules of engagements in this new media space.

“We do not believe that there should be a regulation or policing of the Internet but simultaneously we believe that just as common rules of engagement have emerged in various spheres, they need to emerge in the new media space also because it is a virtual civilisation also which has its own dynamics,” the Minister said.

In his speech on ‘freedom of expression in Internet age’ at a function here last night, the Minister said, “My personal view is that it is extremely important that an agreed global rules of engagement emerge as quickly as possible.”

His comments came against the backdrop of debate in the country on how to ensure responsible behaviour in cyber space.

Tewari said that the rules of engagement are important because hardware responsible for dissemination of information over the Internet may not be under the control of a state at whom it is targeted.

The minister said this as he noted that though cyber world enables grass-root democratisation, it is also having the potential of inflicted destruction.

“The dilemma is should freedom of speech or expression be policed at all. But juxtaposed with that is also the reality that freedom of speech is an expression at times can create situation which lead to potential law and order issues where state and law machineries need to step in,” Tewari said.

The minister highlighted the mass exodus of people hailing from the northeast from southern states last year after rumours of attack on them spread like wild fire to drive home his point.

He also referred to the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar, stating that a video posted on Youtube had flared up the entire incident.

“What the government do when people are fanning violence. Should not the government have the legal and technological way to stop such activity,” he sought to know.

The time is ripe to distinguish between right to privacy and right to anonymity, he said.

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